ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Commissioner Bob Hein began a short discussion about a new judicial center Wednesday, Jan. 31, at the Marion County Commission saying, “The proposals as they have been made will never, never pass in my district.”
Hein, who represents the north and west sector of the county, which includes Hillsboro, said nobody seemed to favor the increases in sales tax and property tax that would be needed to support bonds for the $15 million facility.
As proposed in a Jan. 16 public meeting, the complex would house the district court and county attorney’s office, as well as the sheriff’s office and a corrections center to house Marion County prisoners, plus profit by taking prisoners from other counties.
Commissioner Randy Dallke said maybe the commission should look around for another firm for alternate estimates or ask the current consultant, Dan Hall of BG Consultants in Manhattan, to make some alternate proposals.
“Maybe we just got too big a project, and can’t quite carry 11 or 12 mills,” Dallke said.
He suggested the commissioners might want to look at building without the judicial center or reducing the amount of housing for prisoners.
Commissioner Dan Holub said he hated to reduce any housing for prisoners since the “pay-to-stay” part of the facility is what the county eventually stands to profit from, and to reduce taxes.
Holub asked what the commission is to do if a promised visit from the state fire marshall’s office mandates improvements or reconstruction at the current county jail.
Hein said, “Maybe we ought to wait to see what the fire marshall tells us.”
Holub reviewed a list of inadequacies for the old jail, including women from dispatch within arm’s reach of prisoners when they walk through, no storm shelter and inadequate plumbing.
“You are correct, Dan,” Dallke said. “We don’t want to spend money on (the old jail) when it’s so outdated.”
Hein agreed. “We have to do something somewhere, but we don’t know where yet,” he said.
Holub said opponents of such a county facility are the same people who now realize they passed up good opportunities on big projects for the county already-such as the landfill for Wichita that was discussed several years ago.
Holub said they only have to look at Harper County now to realize they passed up $2 million to $3 million annual income here.
Holub said Chase County has illustrated there’s money to be made housing prisoners, and that Marion County could add even further to its profits by having prisoners operate something like a recycling center.
Planning, Zoning and Environmental Health Director Bobbi Strait told the commissioners she is continuing with efforts to get county salvage yards to clean up.
Dallke said, “People need to know we’re not sitting here letting the status quo go on.”
County Clerk Carol Maggard reported sales tax collected in November, paid to the state in December and disbursed to the counties in January, at $43,269.
Holub noted that county inquiries with the state on where all of the sales tax comes from still have not produced answers.
“I’d like to know,” he said.
Maggard said there is $143,942.08 in encumbered funds left from 2006.
Dallke reappointed Marquetta Eilerts to the planning and zoning board.
The commissioners split road and bridge area fuel bids to award Cardie Oil of Tampa Area 1 for 800 gallons of diesel at $1.958 a gallon for $1,566.40, and Area 2 for 2,150 gallons of diesel at $1.958 a gallon for $4,209.70.
Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro received the bid for Area 3 for 1,800 gallons of diesel at $1.930 a gallon for $3,551.40 and Area 4 for 1,800 gallons of diesel for $1.9735 for $3.552.30.
Cardie Oil was awarded a road and bridge tire list bid at $29,634 pending a check for specifications over bids from CG&S for $32,641.80, from Rod’s Tires for average tires including imports at $29,651.19 and for higher quality tires, mostly American-made, at $40,162.96, and from Mike’s Service at $41,637.13.
The commissioners conducted interviews for the Emergency Medical Services director.